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VOL. 130 | NO. 225 | Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Haslam Asks Federal Government Not to Send Syrian Refugees

TRAVIS LOLLER, Associated Press

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam says he is asking the federal government to suspend placement of Syrian refugees in Tennessee.

In a statement released Monday, Haslam acknowledged that the federal government has the authority to place refugees but said "they have said in the past they would be open to cooperating with receiving states."

Haslam said he wanted to suspend placement of Syrian refugees in Tennessee "until states can become more of a partner in the vetting process."

Haslam also said he is asking the U.S. Department of State for the status of any Syrian refugees currently slated to come to Tennessee.

Tennessee Office for Refugees State Coordinator Holly Johnson said the state has settled fewer than 50 Syrian refugees since her office took over the process in 2008.

She called Haslam's position "a shame."

Johnson said refugees are screened more extensively than anyone else who comes into the U.S., with the process lasting between 18 and 24 months.

"Terrorists aren't coming to the U.S. as refugees," she said. "There are much easier ways."

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell issued a joint statement calling on Tennessee's federal representatives to "place an immediate moratorium on refugees entering the United States, specifically Tennessee."

"The mass movement of legitimate refugees seeking asylum is heartbreaking, and our heart goes out to each and every man, woman and child who is fleeing legitimate political persecution," the statement said.

But it goes on say that, "Out of an abundance of caution, we must use any and all legal means at our disposal to stop the flow of refugees to Tennessee."

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 52 151
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751
BANKRUPTCIES 37 157 618
BUSINESS LICENSES 12 77 276
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0